Smooth (Diabetes) Criminals

Is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

The diabetes world knows that people are travelling to Canada and Mexico to buy insulin. We know that people have died in the United States from a lack of insulin. We know that the prices of all but the most basic and ‘peaky’ biosimilars are unaffordable for many, many working Americans.

“Last month, the powerful Senate Finance Committee asked the three dominant insulin makers detailed questions about the drugs’ price increases. The price for one vial of Eli Lilly’s Humalog surged from $35 in 2001 to $234 in 2015. From 2013 to this year, Novo Nordisk’s Novolog jumped from $289 to $540 and Sanofi’s Lantus from $244 to $431, according to a committee letter.”

Let those costs sink in for a minute. For those readers without diabetes, type 1 diabetics will require not just one of those insulins but two-a short acting and a long acting. So if the cost of 1 vial Humalog is $234 and 1 vial of Lantus (the long acting insulin) is $431. Say if you use 2 vials of each per month (many, many people would require more than 2 vials per month), that’s a cost of $1,330 a month just to stay alive, that’s $16,000 a year before you pay for your rent, your food, your blood testing supplies, your children’s clothes, transport and heating costs.

A security guard in the US, has just been charged with 1 count of theft, for stealing insulin. The average wage in the US for a security guard is, $12.66/hour which equates to $26,000 a year, before tax, if you work a 40 hour week You need to find $16,000 just to live before you pay your taxes, your rent, your electricity, your food and other diabetes supplies and doctors bills.

The disingenuous news reporting on this is telling, it’s so very ‘let them eat cake’. Fox media says:

While the county attorney’s office confirms the suspect is diabetic, they say it remains unclear why he stole more than $4,300 worth of insulin.

How outrageous is the implication that he stole some wildly excessive amount of insulin, as though it wasn’t just for his personal use. The amount he stole is three months worth of life.

Why is it that the price of insulin has skyrocketed in the last decade? In short the answer is because it can.

It’s not just one insulin, it’s all of them, the lock step in which the oligopoly of insulin manufacturers move is uncanny, it almost looks like they’er colluding.

When your wage is $26,000 is it criminal to steal insulin-the substance that keeps you alive?

Who’s the bigger criminal? The Security Guard who has stolen 3 months supply of a substance that he needs, for the rest of his life. A substance that is priced way beyond his means to afford it?

Or is it the US government who fails to protect its citizens from price gouging? Is it the fat cats of pharmaceutical companies who are not just generating profits for sustainability and research, no they are exploiting human beings who rely on their product to stay alive in order to boost their bonuses.

Is it the citizenry of a democratic country who put up with this and vote against universal healthcare?

One thing I know in my heart, the security guard who took some insulin isn’t the real criminal in this scenario.

Thank God, I live in Australia, otherwise I could be in the same situation as that security God. There but for the grace of God, go any of us. You might not have diabetes now but who knows when you might fall ill and be beholden to the capitalist system for your very life. #insulin4all #universalhealthcare

2 thoughts on “Smooth (Diabetes) Criminals

  1. I live in Canada a 30 minute drive from the American border. I pay nothing for my insulin because I’m have private extended health benefits, but if I did not I would pay $34.99 Canadian for a vial of Fiasp. The situation across the border is nuts! The means of delivering insulin safely and effectively should also be free to the patient. That means free insulin pumps and cgms to all that can make good use of them.

  2. That’s the thing Dianna every other western democracy has a single payer system and subsidisation. It means costs, to the consumer and the government is lower-that’s the kicker the US system is economically irrational, their health outcomes are worse and it costs MORE to the government and the consumer. #madness

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